Welcome to Kinema Club

Welcome to the website of Kinema Club, a long-standing, international but informal group devoted to the study of Japanese moving image media. Kinema Club was started precisely to share knowledge about Japanese cinema, so this site serves both to introduce our activities, such as the KineJapan mailing list and our conferences and workshops, as well promote information and thinking about films, research, bibliography, and education.

Kinema Club XIII at Harvard

The 13th edition of the Kinema Club conference will take place at Harvard University on January 17–18, 2014. Click here for more information.

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The new Kinema Club website

Kinema Club, the website devoted to the study of Japanese moving image media, is moving! The preliminary version of the new site is already up with a new address:


Thanks to the great support of Maureen Donovan, Kinema Club has been housed at Ohio State University since its inception in 1995. But with... Read more

CFP for Kinema Club XIII

The next Kinema Club conference will be held at Harvard on January 17, 2014. Proposals are due August 20, 2013. Check out the full call for papers here.

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Olo: The Boy from Tibet

Iwasa Hisaya and Olo: The Boy from Tibet

The important documentary and experimental filmmaker, Iwasa Hisaya, died on 4 May 2013. He was attending a screening of his most recent film, Olo: The Boy from Tibet, in Miyagi when he fell down the stairs of the inn and struck his head. He was 78.

Iwasa was one of a number of crucial postwar Japanese filmmakers who... Read more

Relocating Ozu Yasujiro

I made a quick trip to the United States - four days and three nights - to attend a quite stimulating conference entitled Relocating Ozu: The Question of an Asian Cinema Aesthetic, which was held February 19-20, 2010, at the University of California, Berkeley.

The usual ways to explore such a... Read more


Young Kurosawa Thrives in Uncertain Times

With stories of religious cults on a rampage, children killing children, and school classes falling apart filling the newspapers in the last couple years, it’s not hard to feel that the order of things has gone awry. Yet with the immensity and unfathomability of these problems, you still get a helpless feeling that all these might be... Read more

Dead or Alive*

Laughing at the End of the World

Aikawa Sho and Takeuchi Riki, the two great stars of Japanese made-for-video gangster entertainment, are squatting on the bank of some squalid, industrialized river. The image itself seems in the process of falling apart, with the scratches one sees in an old movie raining down like cats and dogs. The two turn to the camera and, as if starting up their... Read more


To Know or Not to Know

The romantic pretensions of Hollywood to the contrary, love is a very messy business. After all, the other person is a completely separate being, whose independent thoughts, feelings, and experiences cannot be accessed immediately through ESP, whose very actions must always be interpreted through the unreliable filter of subjective impressions. One wonders if we... Read more

Jubaku (Spellbound)

Curse of the Salaryman

Salaryman movies have been one of the staples of Japanese film fare ever since these white-collar employees became the mythical center of both the economy and society of Japan. Yet these films have rarely been the kind of unabashed celebration of their heroes that one finds in, say, the treatment of the cowboy in many U.S. Westerns. The image of the salary man... Read more


A Drift Between Human, Subhuman

Humanity has built great cities and flown to the moon, but to Tsukamoto Shinya it remains as animalistic as ever. His cult classic The Iron Man (“Tetsuo,” 1989), featuring characters who slowly devolve (evolve?) into grotesque metallic beasts, presented the industrial... Read more


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